According to the US Geological Survey’s (USGS) 2010 Mineral Commodity Summaries, while there was a significant increase in the US’s identified Lithium resources – 2.5 million tons (up from 760,000 tons in 2009) – about 23 million tons of identified Lithium resources have been located in countries other than the US.
The USGS also reported that, in spite of the recent economic downturn, a host of new companies had explored for Lithium in 2009, leasing or staking claims in countries around the world. Listed among those countries marked by secure and politically stable conditions was Canada.
In the Canadian province of Alberta, two geological formations were identified by the Alberta Geological Survey (AGS) as containing formation waters containing potentially economic amounts of Lithium: the Leduc Formation and Beaverhill Lake Group strata/Swan Hills Formation.
The AGS recommended further analysis of the formation waters for Lithium, stating that the Lithium contents are similar to those of the only US-based Lithium plant in Clayton Valley, Nevada.
AmeriLithium’s sizeable Americana Property – one of the largest claims of its type in the region (~664,049 acres) – overlies a potential extension of the two formations in question. The total resource estimate for potentially economic Lithium present in the two formations is 567,690 tons,(1) which is approximately 69% of the 826,000+ tons of Lithium estimated to exist in Clayton Valley, Nevada (I.A. Kunasz of the American Institute of Mining, 1975).
Knowledge of the Lithium-rich brine waters beneath west-central Alberta came indirectly from the region’s oil and gas industry activity, including three major gas processing facilities originally owned by Chevron, BP Amoco and Petro-Canada collectively.
While extracting hydrocarbon resources, brine is simultaneously brought to the surface. After separating the brine from the hydrocarbons, the brine is re-injected into the formation to maintain the well’s pressure, enabling higher production rates.
Beyond revealing the existence of prospective brine-based Lithium in west-central Alberta, the province’s oil and gas industry has created a business-friendly environment conducive to mineral exploration and brine extraction:
Hundreds of existing wells that are either active or able to be re-opened
Skilled energy sector workers in the province numbering 170,000
Reliable grid-supplied electricity available
Established all-weather transportation network of roads, rail and 250,000+ miles of pipelines
Rich economy thanks to annual oil and gas royalty revenues of over $12 billion
History of technology innovations to increase resource extraction efficiency and profitability
In addition, the US has a friendly and extensive trade relationship with Canada – the largest exporter of oil to the US – and Alberta in particular; in 2008, the US imported over 1.5 million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta alone, representing 15% of the nation’s crude oil imports.
AmeriLithium’s CEO, Matthew Worrall, commented on the advantages of the Company’s Alberta project saying, "It isn’t often that an American mining company gains the opportunity to explore for a much-needed national resource in a foreign country marked by such an accommodating and friendly trade relationship, stable political and economic conditions, rich potential resources, and the proximity and infrastructure necessary to get the product to market. Not only is Canada our closest ally, it’s also a proven and reliable source of the raw materials America needs to remain at the forefront of the global markets. And with more and more US battery manufacturing companies being started to take advantage of the need for Lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, AmeriLithium’s Alberta project is even more ideally situated than ever to supply the US market with Lithium."
Lithium is a lightweight metal used in a wide range of consumer products the world over: the medical industry uses Lithium as an anti-depressant; industrial uses include glass, ceramic and porcelain enamel manufacture; the aviation industry uses Lithium in alloys. Of particular interest is the use of Lithium for battery production, which has expanded significantly in recent years due to rechargeable Lithium batteries being used increasingly in electrical tools and in the rapidly expanding portable electronics market.
Furthermore, the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicles are being designed to use high-capacity Lithium-ion batteries as environmentally-friendly fuel alternatives while the Obama administration has introduced $5 billion in funding and incentives for the development of a secure, domestic battery industry with special focus on Lithium-ion batteries.
ABOUT AMERILITHIUM: AmeriLithium is a publicly traded (NASD OTC BB: AMEL), mining company committed to progressively developing into one of the leading American players in the global Lithium industry. The Company is headquartered in Lake Tahoe, NV. AmeriLithium has amassed a Lithium portfolio consisting of ~710,000 acres, including a Nevada-based project adjacent to the only Lithium producing plant in the US, a large project in Alberta, Canada, and a project in Western Australia.